Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good for the Teeth

When you think about holiday foods, it’s common for unhealthy dishes to come to mind: Thanksgiving pies, fluffy rolls, ice cream, chips and dip, chocolate, and more. These foods can be a fun part of the holiday tradition. But just because you are indulging as part of the celebration, doesn’t mean that your health needs to suffer. Consider adding a few foods that are good for the teeth and overall health as well.

In fact, there are popular holiday dishes that can support your dental health and provide the nutrients your body needs. Here are a few options to consider this holiday season if you are looking for ingredients that are good for the teeth.

Turkey

A big turkey is the center of a Thanksgiving feast! This lean meat is loaded with protein, which is essential for many health functions within the body.

Additionally, turkey doesn’t have starch or sugars. If you want to protect your teeth, then it’s important to minimize the consumption of anything starchy or sugary.

Sweet Potatoes

Also known as yams, sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants. You can find antioxidant-rich foods by looking for fruits and vegetables that are bright in color. The orange coloring of sweet potatoes offers vitamins C and A, which are both helpful for dental health.

For example, the American Dental Association has stated that vitamin C is important to strengthen soft tissues (such as your gums) within the mouth. Additionally, vitamin C can have a positive impact on immune function, which can be beneficial in protecting against early stages of gum disease (gingivitis).

Instead of making candied yams, consider lightly flavored yams as a side dish for your Thanksgiving feast. These root vegetables are packed with flavor, so everyone can enjoy them without loading the dish up with marshmallows on top.

Green Beans

Is it Thanksgiving if you don’t have green bean casserole? Not only is this baked dish a fun part of the tradition, but green beans are also good for the teeth. These veggies offer a tasty source of vitamins C, K, and A, as well as fiber and folic acid.

Plus, the mushrooms in the casserole are beneficial for dental health because they have a variety of B vitamins such as B2 (riboflavin), B9 (folate), B1 (thiamine), and B5 (pantothenic acid). B vitamins can have a positive impact to reduce inflammation, including inflammation in the gums.

Pumpkin Pie

Even though pie has a high sugar content to sweeten the dessert, the pumpkin within the pie can bring health benefits because of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Similar to sweet potatoes, pumpkin is high in antioxidants such as vitamin A.

Dairy

The cheesy dishes and mashed potatoes have one important ingredient that is good for the teeth: dairy! When milk or cheese is added to a side dish, it is a great source of calcium. It’s important to include calcium in your diet because it helps to strengthen bones and teeth. Plus, dairy ingredients are low in sugar and acid, which are things that you should be avoiding to protect your dental health.

Other Tips to Protect Your Smile During the Holidays

You want to enjoy the holiday season and eat your favorite foods. Rest assured knowing that one indulgent meal isn’t going to be the cause of serious dental issues. It’s more important to look at your overall, ongoing dental habits if you are looking for solutions to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Here are a few habits that are good for the teeth. Not only can you implement these habits during Thanksgiving, but they are also good practices that you can use all year long:

  • Drink Water: Water is a great way to rinse out your mouth after a meal if you don’t have time to brush. Plus, drinking water before a meal can improve satiety and reduce the risk of overeating. Staying hydrated is important to promote saliva flow, which also helps with cavity prevention. When you are choosing a drink with your Thanksgiving meal, pick water instead of soda or alcohol.
  • Brush and Floss: Regular brushing and flossing is the foundation to a healthy smile. In addition to these daily habits, also consider a few extra dental cleaning sessions. For example, take a few minutes to brush your teeth after eating Thanksgiving dinner and finishing your pie. Brushing will scrub away the sugars and starches that feed cavity-causing bacteria. If you decide to eat sugary or starchy foods, then brushing your teeth right after the meal is the best solution to prevent decay.
  • Shorten Eating Time: Do you feel like you are eating all day long on Thanksgiving? In addition to the main meal, there are also plenty of appetizers and snacks being served throughout the day. The problem with eating all day long is that it keeps your teeth exposed to sugar and starches, which increases the risk of decay and gum disease. A better solution is to choose specific times of the day for meals and snacking, then stop eating between meals.

Don’t Forget to Schedule a Dental Appointment

Even though the holiday season is a busy time of year, it’s important that you are proactive about maintaining regular dental appointments. A dental cleaning and exam are great to keep your teeth healthy and catch potential dental issues in the earliest stages.

Plus, many people have dental insurance benefits to use before the end of the year. Maximizing your insurance coverage helps to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. If you haven’t used both of your dental cleanings this year, then make sure to fit the appointment in before the end of the year.

Our team at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas is here to help you maintain a healthy smile all year long. We invite you to contact us anytime if you have questions about your dental health. We offer general dentistry, as well as cosmetic treatments, preventive services, and more. Our goal is to provide every family a convenient location for full-service dental care.

Candy Alternatives During the Halloween Sugar Rush

The onslaught of candy during the holiday season can be a challenge to handle. As a parent, are you trying to manage all of the sweet treats coming in from parties, school, friends, and social events? If you want to enjoy Halloween with your littles and still reduce the overall amount of sugar, then consider a few candy alternatives at home.

Even though candy is traditionally part of the Halloween holiday, it doesn’t mean that your family needs to be consuming it throughout the day. Smart parents try to find the balance: allowing their children to enjoy a few sweet treats here and there, while also finding other enjoyable ways to celebrate without processed sugar.

Trick-Or-Treating Candy Alternatives

Whether you are planning a Halloween party for friends, preparing for trick-or-treaters, or you want to have a small celebration with your family at home, consider these candy alternatives to minimize the sugar rush:

Play Dough

Inspire kids to be creative with Halloween-themed play dough. You can find small store-bought containers that are the perfect size for trick-or-treating. Or, if you are hosting a party at home and want to save money, consider making a big batch of homemade play dough using simple ingredients you already have in the pantry (salt, flour, water, oil, food coloring, etc.).

Halloween Bubbles

Find Halloween-themed bubbles to hand out instead of candy. These little containers come in Halloween colors, such as orange, black, green, and purple. Not only are they fun to receive, but children and adults both enjoy blowing the bubbles and watching them fly through the air. Bubbles are always a hit for people of all ages. Plus, the containers are refillable.

Stickers

Holiday stickers are novelties that are fun to wear on a costume or put in a coloring book. Kids enjoy a fresh sheet of stickers, especially when the designs match the fun activities of the day. Look online or at local craft stores to find sticker candy alternatives such as pumpkins, ghosts, Frankenstein, and more.

Pencils and Erasers

It feels great to have a brand-new pencil in hand! Kids can pick out a pencil during the Halloween party or trick-or-treating, then take it to school the next day to continue enjoying the holiday celebrations while they are working on their schoolwork or homework. Not only can you find these seasonal pencils as candy alternatives for Halloween, but also look for designs that fit other holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. Additionally, you can pair the pencils with themed erasers, shaped as Halloween characters like Frankenstein, bats, witches, and pumpkins.

Mini Notepads

Take the school supplies theme one step further by including a small Halloween mini note pad with the pencils and erasers. These fun writing supplies spark lots of creativity, giving children candy alternatives that they can use at home or at school. Every child likes having new school supplies for writing and coloring.

Temporary Tattoos

Similar to the stickers, temporary tattoos can be fun surprises to hand out as candy alternatives. Children love putting on a small tattoo, especially if it coincides with their costume of choice. These small tattoos are perfect for the holiday celebrations because they last for a few days before washing off in the bathtub.

Glow Sticks

Not only do children love the idea of wearing glow sticks while they are outside in the dark, but these candy alternatives also help to keep everyone safe on a busy night. With so many kids on the sidewalks and crossing the streets while trick-or-treating, it’s a good idea to make them a little more noticeable with glowstick necklaces or bracelets.

Halloween Rings

Do you remember those spider rings from your childhood? From a distance, they look like real spiders! Even though they have been around for decades, these affordable candy alternatives are still fun for children today. You can hand out the spider rings to trick-or-treaters. Also, buy extras to use for décor – they look perfect in fake spiderwebs hung up on your porch.

Vampire Teeth

Another fun plastic toy to hand out is a set of vampire teeth. Even kids in princess costumes and unrelated characters will want to pop in their vampire teeth as soon as they receive this goodie. The teeth are entertaining, helping to distract kids from other candy treats in their trick-or-treating pails.

Small Toys

Look at online party stores to find other types of toys that children might enjoy. For example, you can buy bulk bags of little race cars, bendable monsters, craft kits, and more. These toys are cheap and unique, and children love the different options they can choose from in your bucket of candy alternatives.

Other Halloween Activities

As you are looking for candy alternatives, also consider planning a few fun activities to keep the kids focused on something other than candy. Hands-on activities are memorable and enjoyable for people of all ages. Consider these ideas:

  • Scavenger Hunt: Send the kids on a treasure hunt through the house, classroom, or yard. They can find clues along the way, then reach a hidden treasure box at the end that is filled with the different candy alternatives listed above.
  • Pumpkin Patch: Let every member of the family pick out their own, personalized pumpkin. In addition to searching for the best pumpkins at a pumpkin patch, many of these local businesses also have family-friend activities like bounce houses, slides, corn pits, hayrides, and more.
  • Pumpkin Carving: It’s an age-old tradition that you won’t want to miss! Cover the dining room table with newspaper and pull out the carving knives. Then, you can set the pumpkins out on the porch and light them with candles on the night of Halloween.

These candy alternatives not only help to minimize the sugar rush, but decreasing sugar consumption is also an important step to protect dental health at the same time. If it’s time for an exam and cleaning, then don’t forget to call our team to book appointments for the whole family. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas for more information about protecting your children’s smiles.

Maximize Insurance Benefits: Twice a Year Cleanings Are Recommended

Dental insurance is an excellent investment since it helps cover the cost of routine and restorative dental services. But are you maximizing the benefits that are available for your family? One of the best places to start is with twice-a-year cleanings.

Insurance companies view routine cleanings as preventive maintenance. These regular checkups catch potential issues in the earliest stages, helping to reduce the need for more extensive dental treatments in the future. Check your plan, and it’s likely that you have twice a year cleanings included in your available benefits.

Other Recommendations to Maximize Dental Benefits

In addition to twice-a-year cleanings, what are other strategies you can use to maximize available dental insurance benefits? Here are a few tips to help:

  • Choose an In-Network Dentist: Co-pays are usually cheaper when working with a dentist within your insurance network. Find out if your dentist accepts your insurance coverage. Also, make sure that your dentist is listed as an in-network provider with your insurance plan.
  • Understand Available Coverage: It’s essential to understand that dental insurance works differently from regular health insurance. Insurance providers cover 100% of preventive care in most cases, such as oral exams, teeth cleanings, annual x-rays, and more. Basic care, such as fillings and root canals, usually has 80% coverage, which means you need to pay 20% out of pocket. Major care coverage is usually 50% for services such as dentures, bridges, and crowns.
  • Check Your Deductible and Maximum Benefit: It’s common for dental insurance providers to have an annual deductible. For example, you might need to pay between $25 and $250 out of pocket before the insurance starts paying for services. Additionally, it’s common for dental insurance providers to have a limit – between $1,000 to $2,000. Any costs above this amount will need to be paid out-of-pocket. Depending on the timing of your dental services, you might plan around these deductibles and maximum benefits to increase the overall amount of available insurance coverage.

If you aren’t insured, make sure you know your options before deciding on your dental treatment plan. Different payment and financing options make dental treatments accessible for everyone. Talk to our office staff for information about these possibilities so you can access the essential treatments that you need.

Are Twice a Year Cleanings Necessary?

Do you really need to visit the dentist this often? Twice-a-year cleanings are essential – they are the foundation of maintaining a healthy smile. Even if you are proactive about caring for your teeth and gums, it’s still wise to keep a consistent exam and cleaning schedule.

Plaque and tartar are pretty standard, even for patients who brush twice daily, floss, and use mouthwash. Routine dental cleanings remove the buildup to keep your teeth healthy and minimize the risk of gum disease.

Skipping cleanings twice a year means that small amounts of plaque and tartar can accumulate. There are spots in the mouth that are difficult to reach with your toothbrush and floss, such as in the back of the mouth and between the teeth. These small areas can cause infections, which lead to more significant dental complications in the future.

Regular dental cleanings are essential to remove plaque. Protecting your teeth in this way is a critical step to maintaining overall health. When gum disease and cavities are present, it’s possible for bacteria to move from the mouth into the bloodstream – which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What Is Included in Twice a Year Cleanings?

When you schedule a dental exam and cleaning, you will receive full-service treatment from an experienced dental team. Here’s what you can expect during the appointment:

Visual Examination

A dental hygienist starts with a visual examination of your teeth, gums, lips, and all other areas of the mouth. During this examination, the hygienist is looking for signs of gum inflammation, cancer, and other possible concerns. If anything looks unusual, then the hygienist consults with the dentist before proceeding with the different parts of the exam and cleaning.

Digital Imaging

Certain parts of the mouth are difficult to see, which is why it’s vital to use digital imaging for early detection. In addition, digital x-rays show potential areas of infection and decay, helping with earlier treatments.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Now it’s time to remove the plaque and tartar. The hygienist uses a small mirror to guide the work and specialized tools to reach the areas between the teeth. You might hear and feel the scraping, but it’s a normal part of the cleaning process. Then, the teeth are brushed and flossed, finishing with a good rinse. Your teeth will feel smooth and clean after the appointment is over!

Fluoride Treatments

You have the option to end the cleaning with a fluoride treatment. This treatment is an important step to protect your teeth, helping to fight against cavities in the coming months. Find out about fluoride treatment coverage through your insurance plan.

Some insurance companies don’t include fluoride as part of the twice-a-year cleanings. Still, many patients like to pay for the out-of-pocket costs because of the protective benefits available from fluoride. A small payment right now can save you the discomfort and expense of bigger dental bills for cavities and fillings in the future.

Additional Examinations

Depending on what the hygienist and dentist find during the examination, extra steps might be necessary during your visit. For example, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry are possible needs. You will receive personalized recommendations for this appointment and future services.

Schedule a Dental Cleaning

Is it time for you to visit a dentist for a routine cleaning and examination? Reach out to our team to book an appointment with a reputable dental office. We are here to help with general dentistry, as well as a variety of other services for cosmetic treatments and more. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas today by calling our office to learn more about available treatments. We are here to help!

Tips for Kids: Valentine’s Treats that Are Good for Teeth

Many holidays include a lot of sweets and candy, especially Valentine’s Day, which centers around sharing small Valentine’s treats with friends and family. So how much candy will your kids bring home from school after their Valentine’s exchange?

While it’s fun to enjoy these Valentine’s treats, parents are also concerned about how the sugar affects their child’s dental health. The science is undeniable: consuming high amounts of sugar and frequently eating candy can be bad for dental health.

At Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas, we don’t want to ruin your Valentine’s Day fun. So, today we are sharing ideas so that you can enjoy this day of love and protect your family’s health at the same time.

Best Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

Here are some of the tastiest Valentine’s Day treats you can enjoy while minimizing the potential risk for dental health issues:

  • Chocolate Covered Fruit: Even though chocolate has sugar, you can minimize the amount of consumption by covering fruit in chocolate (as an alternative to eating a whole piece of chocolate). For example, chocolate-covered strawberries are fancy and delicious –great Valentine’s treats. Another option is to plan an activity with a fruit platter and chocolate fondue.
  • Charcuterie Board: It’s a fun family activity to share a meal or snack time with finger foods. Make a charcuterie board with cheese and crackers, as well as meat slices, fruit, vegetables, and more. A beautiful presentation makes these Valentine’s snacks extra unique when sharing them with your loved ones. For example, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape the cheese and meat slices.
  • Dark Chocolate Gifts: If you want to buy chocolate as a gift, go with dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate or white chocolate—the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar content. Lowering the sugar content helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Plus, dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants that are healthy for your brain and heart.
  • Fruit Tray: Fruit is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth and minimize refined sugar at the same time. Add color to Valentine’s treats by using a wide variety of fruits: strawberries, raspberries, grapes, melons, and more. Improve the presentation by stacking fruit on skewers. Or, slice the fruit bites into heart-shaped pieces.
  • Milk and Cookies: If you are going to serve sugary treats, such as cookies or cake, then make sure to wash it down with a glass of milk. Milk is high in phosphorus, calcium, and protein, which can help to strengthen the teeth and bones.

No matter the Valentine’s treats you are sharing with your family, don’t forget to make time for brushing after you finish eating. When the meal is over, brush your teeth before moving on to the next activity to remove the bacteria-causing sugar that is coating the teeth. This helps to limit the risk of tooth decay.

Non-Food Valentine’s Treats

It’s great to share Valentine’s treats with your loved ones, but don’t assume that everything needs to focus on food. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, there are many other ways you can celebrate the holiday without adding more sugar to the holiday.

Here are a few small gifts you can share to help kids feel the excitement of the holiday without sugary snacks:

  • Stickers: A new pack of stickers can create an hour of fun. Pick brightly colored stickers with Valentine’s images, such as hearts, cute animals, and more.
  • Heart Pop Fidget Toys: These toys are trending this year! Kids love to collect different colors and shapes and even trade them with their friends. The bubbles are entertaining, and you can even find heart-shaped designs.
  • Valentine’s Day Slime: How much do your kids like playing with slime and putty? Create a Valentine’s Day theme with red, pink, and white matching colors. You can buy premade slime or make it an activity using the ingredients to make homemade slime.
  • Heart PJ’s: Hold onto the fun of Valentine’s Day after the holiday is over by gifting each child with holiday PJs. These gifts are both fun and practical. You can even find matching PJs for the whole family! Then, enjoy a themed Valentine’s Day breakfast together, wearing your new PJs.
  • Plush Animals: A small stuffed animal can be comforting and cozy. Share a Valentine greeting with the child’s favorite animal. Or, look for small toys to match their favorite TV show, such as Paw Patrol.
  • Picture Books: Help your child enjoy reading with fun stories and colorful picture books. You can find love-themed children’s books to share as a Valentine’s gift. Plan story time on Valentine’s Day to sit down as a family and enjoy these stories together.

Valentine’s Day Games for Kids

Plan Valentine’s Day games for kids, such as:

  • Minute to Win It: These small games include 60-second challenges using common items based on the popular TV game show. Examples include a ring toss, word scrambling, stacking challenges, and more.
  • Mad Libs: Make silly stories together using Mad Libs-themed activities. Work together in partners to fill in the blanks, then laugh together at the funny results.
  • Heart Crafts: Pulling out the colored paper, markers, and craft supplies can create hours of fun together. Teach your kids how to make a heart by folding a paper in half and cutting it. Plan a purpose for the craft time, such as creating Valentine’s cards for grandparents or designing a Valentine’s themed poster to hang on the wall.

Healthy Dental Habits Throughout the Year

While it’s important to think about healthy Valentine’s treats, the truth is that one day of sugar indulgence probably won’t result in severe tooth decay problems. Instead, what matters is the day-in-day-out habits that protect your child’s teeth throughout the year.

How are you maintaining a consistent schedule for brushing, flossing, and dental checkups? These habits teach your children about good dental health while they are young, contributing to healthy teeth that can last a lifetime.

For more information about pediatric dental health, our team is here to answer your questions at any time. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas if you need to schedule a cleaning and exam or if you have questions for a dental specialist.

6 Dental Hygiene Tips to Get Through the Holiday Sugar Rush

You can always expect one thing during the holiday season: a seemingly bottomless supply of holiday treats and snacks. Whether neighbors are dropping off handmade chocolates or coworkers are bringing cookies into the office, your teeth are exposed to more sugar than usual. So, it’s more important than ever to stay consistent with these dental hygiene tips.

Things to Consider: Holiday Indulgences

You don’t have to avoid holiday treats altogether for the last few weeks of the month. However, it can be hard to say no when you have so many sweet treats and desserts offered to celebrate the holidays.

While it’s fun to relax your everyday eating routines and indulge a bit, it’s wise to be aware of how these desserts affect your health. Not only do sweets change blood sugar levels, but sugar can also cause damage to your teeth.

Since you are planning to enjoy a variety of delicious treats this holiday season, then here are a few essential dental hygiene tips to follow so you can protect your teeth and gums:

Tip #1: Manage the Timing

Be deliberate about the timing when you are eating holiday sweets. Each time you take a bite of dessert or a sip of a sweet drink, it exposes your mouth to the acidity from the sugar and other processed ingredients. These conditions create a lower pH environment where bacteria thrive, which leads to tooth decay.

The truth is that cavities don’t form because of sugar. Instead, the sugar promotes cavity-causing bacteria that can damage tooth enamel, which leads to decay. Consuming sugar throughout the day maintains this harmful environment in your mouth.

Every time you eat something, you expose your teeth to acids. The mouth can manage several moments of acidity each day. But frequent snacking can make it hard for the protective elements to keep up with ongoing acidity.

Limit your snacking frequency. Instead of snacking throughout the day, indulge your sweet tooth when eating meals. Then, take a break from eating to avoid exposing your teeth to sugar too frequently.

Tip #2: Stay Away from Sweets Before Bed

It might seem redundant to talk about two dental hygiene tips in a row referring to the timing of your desserts. But this point deserves mention on its own: avoid sugar and desserts right before bed.

The saliva in your mouth plays a vital role in cleansing the mouth and protecting your teeth. When you go to bed, your mouth tends to be drier than the conditions during the day. The decreased saliva production increases the risk of decay in your mouth – especially when pre-bedtime snacks leave sugar on your teeth.

Stop eating at least 30 minutes before bed to give your mouth time to rebalance after the meal or snack. This practice not only protects your teeth, but it is healthier for overall wellness.

 

Tip #3: Brush Your Teeth After Eating Sweets

When you are done enjoying your holiday treat, take a moment to brush your teeth if possible. Toothpaste not only removes the acidic elements left behind in your mouth, but the fluoride also strengthens your teeth to prevent cavities.

Also, it’s a good idea to floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing cleans the hard-to-reach areas where the toothbrush can’t brush.

If you don’t have the option to brush your teeth after a meal or snack, then swish your mouth with plain water. Rinsing is an alternative, but it is not as effective as brushing.

Tip #4: Pick Better Treats

Not all sweet treats are created equal. Certain types of sugary snacks are worse than others. For example, if you are sucking on candy that dissolves slowly, it increases the risk of cavities compared to something you chew and swallow right away.

As you are making a note of these dental hygiene tips, consider the combination of ingredients. For example, some people find that the combination of sweetener plus citric acid is more harmful to their teeth compared to other sweet treats without added acid.

Another option is to choose a sugar alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth without increasing the risk of cavities. One example is xylitol mints or gum. Xylitol is a sweetener that tastes great, but it doesn’t create the same bacteria-friendly conditions when you eat sugar. The bacteria in your mouth can’t feed on xylitol. Keep xylitol gum in your pocket to use as an alternative to holiday desserts.

Tip #5: Invest in High-Quality Dental Hygiene Tools

Prevention is the best strategy to protect your teeth from unnecessary damage and tooth decay. Make sure you use a high-quality toothbrush to clean your teeth thoroughly each day. If you are eating a lot of sweets, it can be helpful to use a powered toothbrush so you can reach the most challenging places in your mouth when brushing.

Good floss is essential as well. If you don’t like using traditional dental floss, try using flossing picks – small plastic tools that hold dental floss at the end. These picks make it easier to reach the back teeth, especially for people with small mouths.

Tip #6: Don’t Skip Your Dental Checkup

Is it time for a checkup with the dentist? Even though it’s a busy time of year, don’t miss the opportunity for a cleaning and examination. Early diagnosis and preventive treatments are vital in helping you maintain a healthy smile for life.

Plus, the end of the year is a great time to get into the dentist so you can maximize your dental benefits before they expire. Our team is happy to provide the dental services you need, and we can also discuss more information about dental hygiene tips so you can enjoy healthy teeth throughout the year.

Need More Dental Hygiene Tips?

For more information about preventing tooth decay and protecting your beautiful smile, talk to our team at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas. Call to schedule an examination and learn more about available dental services for the whole family.

Why Quality Toothpaste Matters

Toothpaste is Vital to Your Oral Hygiene

Everyone knows about the importance of having a good oral hygiene routine. From the moment your teeth first start growing in, caring for your teeth has been an integral part of your overall health and well-being. A good oral hygiene routine typically consists of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. It also includes visiting your dentist for a dental exam at least twice a year (or every six months).

However, there is still more you need to know. While it seems inconsequential, the tools you use also play a significant role. We understand that without a quality toothbrush, you can’t remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth effectively. Getting a brush with the right bristles that can clean your teeth without hurting your gums is crucial. However, do you know how vital quality toothpaste is?

Too many people think that they can brush with any toothpaste, but they would be wrong. The American Dental Association (ADA) has set standards that all toothpaste entering the market should meet. These standards ensure that toothpaste is effective and safe to use. However, not every toothpaste is ADA-approved. Before you grab the cheapest toothpaste, check to see if it is ADA-approved. If not, you might want to rethink your decision.

A good oral hygiene routine involves brushing your teeth regularly with quality toothpaste. While it may not seem like a big deal, it can go a long way. If you are looking for toothpaste recommendations or would like to schedule your next dental exam, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas today.

ADA Seal of Approval

Since we briefly touched on it, we’re going to take a closer look at ADA-approved toothpaste. As we said before, the ADA has a set of standards that all toothpaste brands must meet before entering the market. These brands must conduct laboratory and clinical studies that demonstrate the efficacy of their toothpaste, as well as proving the toothpaste is safe to use.

Along with providing the ADA with data from these studies, all toothpaste must also contain fluoride, along with active ingredients that help reduce tooth sensitivity, whiten teeth, reduce gingivitis or tartar build-up, and prevent enamel erosion and bad breath. These toothpastes cannot contain flavoring agents that can lead to tooth decay (such as sugar). If a product does not contain fluoride, the ADA will reject it.

A product that earns the ADA seal of acceptance is a quality product and is safe and effective to use. It passes all tests, proving that it will clean and protect your teeth, among other things.

Fluoride vs. Non-Fluoride Toothpaste

One of the standards the ADA set for their toothpaste is that they must all contain fluoride. Fluoride is an essential ingredient in all toothpaste. This naturally occurring mineral protects your teeth from plaque build-up and can help prevent cavities. While your toothbrush scrubs away harmful substances, fluoride goes a step further by providing an added level of protection for the enamel on your teeth.

Fluoride helps develop your enamel at a young age, ensuring that it’s as hard as possible to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Continued fluoride use helps the enamel remain strong. Fluoride also has a remineralizing effect, rebuilding weakened enamel before it wears away forever.

While fluoride is in roughly three-quarters of the public water supply in the U.S., the amount is not always enough to offer full protection. That is why fluoride is in toothpaste, to provide you with the appropriate amount of fluoride directly.

The Benefits of Quality Toothpaste

The surest sign that your toothpaste is effective is the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It ensures that the toothpaste is not only safe to use but is also successful in cleaning your teeth and keeping them healthy. There are plenty of toothpaste products that contain ingredients, such as sugar, that can actually harm your teeth. Always keep an eye out for that ADA seal.

Some of the benefits of ADA-approved quality toothpaste include:

  • Scientifically Tested and Proven: To earn the ADA’s seal of approval, toothpaste manufacturers must conduct thorough tests and studies to ensure their product is safe and effective. The ADA will examine the data provided to them by the manufacturer to verify its safety and efficacy.
  • Contains Helpful Ingredients: Quality toothpaste contains ingredients that maintain the health of your teeth. Along with fluoride, quality toothpaste may also contain desensitizing agents, antimicrobial agents, peroxide, and more. The ADA seal assures that a product has all the necessary ingredients.
  • No Side Effects: During the testing process, toothpaste manufacturers work to ensure that their product does what it should do without leading to any adverse reactions. Many cheap toothpaste products with ADA approval can lead to side effects.
  • Offers Desired Results: As a product goes through an arduous testing process, the ADA verifies that each product does what it’s intended to do. If toothpaste claims to prevent tartar build-up, the ADA will test to verify this claim. If the product doesn’t do it, they will reject it. So, when toothpaste has an ADA seal, that assures it offers the desired results.

Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Brushing your teeth twice a day should be a part of your daily routine, along with flossing. However, the type of toothpaste you use plays a vital role in the health of your teeth. While many people try to get the cheapest toothpaste possible to save themselves a dollar or two, doing so can actually do more harm than good.

Non-ADA-approved products may contain ingredients that damage the enamel on your teeth, increasing your risk of cavities and tooth decay. Quality toothpaste contains active ingredients like fluoride that strengthen and protects your teeth. Look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that not only does the product contain helpful ingredients, but it also does what it claims to do.

If you are looking for a recommendation or need a dental cleaning, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas today. We will provide you with all the information you need to keep your teeth healthy and clean.

6 Dental Hygiene Tips to Follow in 2021

Make Your Dental Hygiene a Priority in 2021

2020 is finally coming to an end! This year has been a tumultuous one due in large part to the global pandemic. People have had to adjust their way of living to protect themselves, their families, and their community. Businesses (even us at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas) had to alter their operations to protect their staff and guests.

Even with the ongoing pandemic, our dental office has worked tirelessly to provide our patients with dental care in a safe yet effective way. As we end the year, we would like to thank our patients for their understanding. As we look to the new year, we look forward to helping even more people achieve their dream smiles.

However, as always, the health of your teeth and your oral hygiene are our top priorities. As we head into the new year, we will be providing you with some helpful dental hygiene tips to follow in 2021. What better time to make healthy lifestyle changes than the start of a new year?

One of the most effective dental hygiene tips is regularly visiting your dentist. When was the last time you had a dental exam? If you can’t remember, don’t worry! Give Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas a call today and schedule your next appointment!

1.) Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

From the moment your baby teeth started growing in, you have more than likely been brushing your teeth ever since. Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do for your dental hygiene. While the majority of Americans do brush their teeth twice a day, a shocking 31% do not. Even worse, 2% of people don’t brush their teeth at all. 23% of Americans have gone two or more days without brushing their teeth in the last year.

Even though people know they should, they don’t always brush twice. Not only should you brush your teeth twice a day, but you should also be brushing them for two minutes to ensure you hit every spot.

Here are some tips to brush your teeth properly:

  • Using a 45-degree angle, brush your teeth in gentle, short up and down strokes along the gums to brush your front teeth.
  • Use a circular up and down motion to brush the outside surfaces of your teeth. Remember to get the back molars and the upper areas of chewing surfaces.
  • Brush in a gentle circular motion on the inside of the teeth.
  • Flip your toothbrush upside down and back again. Use the tip of your brush to brush the inside surface of your front teeth, both top and bottom.
  • Brush your tongue.

2.) Floss Daily

Much like brushing your teeth, you have likely heard about the importance of flossing. However, not many people floss their teeth. Roughly only 30% of Americans floss their teeth daily. Even worse, over 32% admitted that they never floss.

We cannot stress enough the importance of flossing. It helps prevent gum disease by removing plaque buildup in between your teeth that brushing cannot reach. By flossing daily, not only do you prevent gum disease, but you also reduce the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, you also avoid bad breath.

Here are some tips to help you floss properly:

  • Break off between 18-24 inches of waxed dental floss, wrapping the ends around a finger on each hand. Leave around an inch or two to use.
  • Use a mirror to help you see where you are flossing.
  • With the floss taut, slide the floss between two teeth. Gently glide it up and down, rubbing up against each side of your teeth.
  • Do not floss into your gums. Doing so can cause damage.
  • Curve the floss at the base of your tooth to reach the space between the gums and your teeth.

3.) Use Mouthwash 

Mouthwash is another great addition to your dental care routine that many people fail to include. Much like flossing, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash helps you reach areas that a toothbrush cannot. It can wash away plaque, bacteria, and debris to help keep your mouth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) does want you to remember that mouthwash is not a suitable replacement for brushing and flossing.

There are a host of mouthwash options to choose from, with many targeting specific oral hygiene concerns (bad breath, dry mouth, gum disease, etc.). If you need help deciding which mouthwash option is best for you, speak with your dentist at your next dental exam.

4.) Cut Back on Sugar

You have more than likely heard about the dangers of sugar when it comes to your dental health. While some of the best foods contain sugar, too much of it can threaten your teeth. BMC Public Health published a study that found a correlation between the amount of sugar someone consumes and the level of tooth decay they have. As you can see, too much of one thing can be a bad thing.

Limit the amount of candy you eat, especially hard candies, sour candies, and more. Sugar-free gum is a safe alternative, as it promotes saliva production, which flushes away excess food particles. Reduce the amount of soda you drink, as well. Not only do they contain loads of sugar, but the acids in them wear away at tooth enamel.

Eat a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources (poultry, fish, beans, etc.), and more. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, as well.

5.) Kick Bad Habits

There are a host of bad habits that can threaten the health of your teeth. Take the start of 2021 to kick these habits and prioritize your dental hygiene! The most obvious bad habit is smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco products. These products contain cancer-causing ingredients. On top of that, they can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, give you bad breath, and so much more.

Other bad habits to quit in the new year include:

  • Nail-biting
  • Using your teeth as a tool (opening packages, cutting tags, etc.)
  • Chewing Ice
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Dr.inking alcohol (alcohol dries your mouth, reducing saliva production)

6.) Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Out of all dental hygiene tips, nothing helps you take care of your teeth quite like visiting your dentist. However, according to the ADA, only 58% of Americans visited their dentist at least once a year. Dental care experts recommend visiting your dentist twice a year or every six months. However, if your oral hygiene needs more care, you might have to schedule appointments more frequently.

Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and mouth and follow these dental hygiene tips, there are some things you don’t know to look for or can’t notice. Your dentist has years of experience and training and can check for any issues that you might have missed before they get out of hand. Typically, many conditions don’t make themselves known early on, but your dentist can catch them before it’s too late.

If you can’t remember the last time that you visited the dentist, then it has probably been too long. Give Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas a call today and schedule your next appointment. Make your oral hygiene a priority in 2021!

TMJ Disorders: What You Need to Know

TMJ Pain Can Cause Great Discomfort

Typically, when we think about going to the dentist, we think about dental cleanings, braces, root canals, and anything else that has to do with our teeth and gums. And rightfully so. However, your dentist can help you in countless other ways. Your oral health involves a lot more than just your teeth and your gums. One vital part of your mouth is your jaw, particularly your temporomandibular joints (TMJ).

While you might not even think about these joints (much less even know what they are), you use them every single day. These joints are responsible for various functions in your mouth, from helping your talk to chewing food. However, as with all things, issues can arise in these joints that cause pain and discomfort.

TMJ disorders (also referred to as TMD) can cause pain in your jaw joints and muscles, reducing the overall range of motion in your jaw. TMJ disorders can cause a lot of pain and affect your quality of life. These disorders are complicated. After all, healthcare experts don’t know what causes TMD. Fortunately, TMJ pain is not permanent, and you can relieve it with ease.

At Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas, our team of dental experts understands how complex your mouth can be. Many factors can cause jaw pain, which is why it pays to have the help of a trusted dentist. If you are experiencing jaw pain, contact our clinic today to schedule an appointment.

What are the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) act as a hinge for your jaw. They connect your jaw to the temporal bones in your skull, which are right in front of each ear. There is a joint on each side of your head. These joints are what allow your jaw to open and close and move side to side. They allow you to speak, chew, swallow, and more. If there are any issues with these joints, you could experience many problems.

Not only would you experience some pain and discomfort, but you would struggle to open your mouth completely. Often, the cause of these issues is TMJ disorders (referred to as TMD).

TMJ Disorders (TMD)

TMJ disorders cause pain in the joints and muscles in your jaw, which impacts the movement of your jaw. Along with pain and discomfort, these disorders significantly reduce your jaw’s range of motion. Naturally, that means you’ll struggle to open and close your mouth. While it might only seem like a minor inconvenience, it can have drastic effects.

If you can’t open our mouth, you’ll have issues speaking, chewing, swallowing, breathing, and keeping your teeth clean. TMJ disorders can affect either one or both sides of your face. That is why it is vital to visit your dentist for an accurate diagnosis to prevent the development of further problems.

Symptoms of TMD

Each case of TMD differs. The symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. For some, this pain is temporary, lasting only a few weeks. For others, it can last for several months or even years. Because of the issues they present, you must take care of these disorders early to prevent any further damage.

Here are some key symptoms to keep an eye out for to catch TMD early:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Pain while chewing, talking, yawning, or swallowing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • Aching facial pain
  • Tense or tight jaw muscles
  • Lockjaw
  • Pain in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in one or both of your ears
  • Clicking or popping sounds in your jaw whenever you open or close your mouth
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Toothaches
  • Teeth grinding/clenching 

Unfortunately, the exact cause of TMD is unknown. Many healthcare experts don’t know why TMJ disorders occur. There are several factors that could increase your jaw pain or increase your risk of developing TMD, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Injuries or trauma to the jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Teeth grinding/clinching
  • Misaligned bite
  • Discs in the joints wear down or are misaligned
  • Dislocation
  • Tense facial muscles

As you can see, a host of factors can lead to or increase your risk of developing a TMJ disorder. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of these disorders. However, they are often not long-lasting and will go away with simple treatment.

Diagnosing and Treating TMJ Disorders

Once you have recognized these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Here, they will use various tests to diagnose your condition. They will review your medical and dental history. They feel and examine your jaw as you open and close your mouth, observing your range of motion and listening for any clicks and pops.

Additionally, they will use dental exams and X-rays to identify any injuries or damage. A CT scan or an MRI might be used to get a more detailed look at the bones and disks in your jaw, as well as observing the muscles and soft tissue surrounding these joints.

Depending on how progressed your TMD is, your dentist might suggest many treatment options, many of which you can do on your own. Some treatment options include:

  • Medications
    • Anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter pain medication (such as Ibuprofen)
    • Muscle relaxants
    • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Heat/cold therapy
  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding chewing gums or other bad habits
  • Practicing relaxation techniques (meditation, deep breathing, yoga, etc.)
  • Avoiding teeth grinding/clenching
  • Exercises to strengthen jaw muscles

However, if these home remedies don’t relieve your TMJ pain, then your dentist might suggest more extensive treatment.

  • Oral splints/mouth guards (often worn during sleep to prevent grinding and clinching)
  • Trigger point injections (temporarily relieve pain and relax muscles and joints)
  • Surgery (in extreme cases)

If no other method provides relief, then your dentist might suggest surgery as a last resort.

Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas

TMJ disorders can be painful and affect your overall quality of life. Eating, talking, and cleaning your teeth become difficult. These cases can range from mild to severe. Fortunately, these conditions are not permanent and can improve with simple and easy treatments.

The team at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas possesses the skills, experience, and tools to diagnose your TMD accurately. We will help you create an effective treatment plan to help you find relief. If you are experiencing jaw pain, give our office a call today to schedule an appointment.

The Dangers of Teeth Grinding

Teeth Grinding Can Cause Major Damage

Teeth grinding is one of the worst habits for your teeth. Commonly referred to as bruxism, grinding, clenching, or gnashing puts unnecessary and potentially destructive pressure on your teeth. It is an easy way to damage your teeth or cause other oral issues. If you wake up with sensitive teeth, a sore jaw, or even a headache, you might be dealing with bruxism.

You might even notice throughout the day that you are clenching your jaw. When you clench your jaw, your teeth naturally grind against one another. Whether awake or asleep, you might not even realize that you are grinding your teeth. However, the results of teeth grinding are often very severe.

While many cases of bruxism are mild and require no treatment, others can lead to a host of symptoms and issues, from jaw pain to cracked teeth. If you don’t catch and treat bruxism right away, it can lead to painful outcomes.

Sleep bruxism occurs in up to 50% of children, but its prevalence decreases as children grow older, with only around 5-8% of adults experiencing sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism affects nearly one-third of people. However, experts estimate that roughly 85-90% of the general population grinds their teeth to some degree in their life.

As you can see, teeth grinding is far more common than many realize, and it can affect your teeth in various ways. If you notice yourself clenching your jaw or wake up with sensitive teeth or jaw pain, you might be suffering from bruxism. If so, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas and let us help.

Awake Bruxism vs. Sleep Bruxism

Before we dive deeper, let’s explain the main differences between grinding your teeth at night versus during the day. While some differences are obvious, it’s essential to take a closer look at the two.

  • Awake Bruxism: Occurs during the day. Clenching is much more prominent than teeth grinding. Typically, you are aware that you are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. It is often semi-voluntary. Awake bruxism usually correlates with high anxiety and stress. Females experience it more than males. These symptoms typically worsen as the day progresses. It also increases your chance of teeth grinding at night.
  • Sleep Bruxism: Occurs at night when you are asleep. Teeth grinding is more prominent than jaw clenching. Experts defined it as a sleep-related movement, and it is involuntary. The majority of those with sleep bruxism are unaware that they do it. Both men and women experience it equally. The symptoms of sleep bruxism are always worse in the morning, right when you wake up.

As you can see, there are subtle differences between the two, but it’s vital to know them.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

If you suspect that you might be experiencing bruxism, you should keep an eye out for any of these teeth grinding symptoms:

  • Flattened teeth
  • Fractured, chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Tooth pain
  • Bleeding gums or gum recession
  • Increased teeth sensitivity
  • Sore or tight jaw muscles
  • Locked jaw (your jaw won’t open or close completely)
  • Muscles tightness in jaw, neck, or face
  • Pain that feels like it’s in your ear (even though it is not)
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Teeth grinding or clenching (might be loud enough to be heard by your sleep partner)

If you experience any of these symptoms, or your sleep partner hears you grinding your teeth at night, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is the best way to prevent any long-term damage.

Causes of Teeth Grinding 

As we mentioned earlier, awake bruxism and sleep bruxism have some key differences. Naturally, the causes of each differ slightly. They do share some similar causes. High levels of anxiety, stress, and tension can cause teeth grinding when you are awake and asleep.

Some teeth grinding causes when awake:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • A habit of deep concentration
  • Anger or frustration
  • A coping technique in stressful situations
  • Misaligned bites (missing or crooked teeth, over- or underbites)
  • Excess caffeine (soda, coffee, energy drinks, etc.)

Increases in brain and cardiovascular activity tend to precede teeth grinding in most cases of sleep bruxism. Some other teeth grinding causes when asleep:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Misaligned bites
  • Side effects of certain medications (antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Changing in sleep patterns or microarousals during sleep
  • Cigarette use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine intake
  • Snoring

In many instances, if someone in your family experiences bruxism, you have a higher risk of experiencing it, too. Nearly half of people with sleep bruxism also have a close family member who has it.

An overnight sleep study (known as polysomnography) is the best way to diagnose sleep bruxism. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming. In most cases, the presence of jaw pain, teeth sensitivity, and tooth damage are enough to determine if you have bruxism or not.

Impacts of Teeth Grinding

As we briefly mentioned throughout, there are plenty of reasons why grinding your teeth is so harmful. It can lead to lasting impacts that threaten your overall oral health. Bruxism (whether awake or asleep) can cause chronic pain. Additionally, it can lead to cracked, fractured, or broken teeth, which often causes you to need bridges, crowns, implants, or even a root canal.

Bruxism can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ syndrome). When these occur, you’ll experience muscle problems in the jaw and joints, which can cause clicking sounds and restrict your range of motion, preventing you from properly chewing or opening your mouth.

All of these things can cause tooth loss and even affect the appearance of your face. You’ll need extensive cosmetic dentistry to make up for the damage of grinding your teeth, which is why early diagnosis is so vital.

What You Can Do to Stop Grinding 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can stop teeth grinding. Since stress is one of the most prominent causes, reducing your stress is vital in preventing grinding. You can do so through yoga, controlled breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and more. Therapy can also help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and even help with sleep.

Some medications can also reduce muscle activity and muscle tension, which relaxes the muscles, keeping them from clenching. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, your dentist may fit you with a mouthguard (also called a nightguard) to reduce the damage done to your teeth.

Additionally, visiting your dentist is one of the best ways to receive an early diagnosis and to create an effective treatment plan for your unique case. If you wake up to jaw pain or teeth sensitivity, give Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas a call today and let us help you with your teeth grinding.

Halloween and Your Teeth

Halloween Leads to an Excess of Candy

Halloween is right around the corner! The entire month of October revolves around this one day. It’s a month full of scary stories, dressing up as your favorite character, going to costume parties, and candy. Halloween is a time to have fun with your friends and family. However, because candy plays such a significant role in this holiday, your teeth might be in trouble.

Since the moment your baby teeth come in, people have continuously taught you about caring for your teeth. Unfortunately, the sugar in candy is very harmful to your teeth, and candy is always in excess during Halloween. Children go trick-or-treating and receive loads of free candy. However, we are not telling you that you cannot eat candy during Halloween.

There are still plenty of ways that you can enjoy the full breadth of Halloween while keeping the health of your teeth in mind. We wouldn’t want to take the fun out of one of the most exciting holidays.

Halloween and your teeth have a complicated relationship. After all, candy is a staple for Halloween, but it’s not healthy for your teeth. That is why Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas is here to help you enjoy Halloween while still protecting your teeth.

How Does Candy Impact Your Teeth? 

Even those who don’t have a sweet tooth probably have one type of candy they enjoy. That’s why it plays such a vital role during Halloween. While millions of Americans, both young and old, like to indulge in candy, it can harm your teeth.

Candy is full of sugar. Your mouth is full of naturally occurring bacteria that thrive when sugar enters your mouth. These bacteria will then consume the sugar from candy. The more candy you eat, the more sugar you give bacteria.

As bacteria consume this sugar, it creates a weak acid that combines with your saliva, forming plaque. Plaque is particularly harmful to your teeth. As it builds up, it begins to eat away at the enamel of your teeth. The enamel is what protects your teeth and keeps them healthy. Even though it is one of the hardest tissues in the body, the acid bacteria produce still breaks it down.

In due time, tooth decay begins. The acid will wear down your enamel and will continue to eat away at your teeth. Eventually, this decay will create a hole in your tooth (known as a cavity). If you don’t treat this cavity, it will only worsen, eventually developing into a root infection that might require a root canal or tooth extraction.

As you can see, Halloween and your teeth have a complicated relationship. The candy one gets during Halloween can ruin your teeth. If you are not careful, eating too much candy can destroy your smile.

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Halloween

Just because candy can lead to tooth decay does not mean you cannot still enjoy some during Halloween. There are plenty of ways you can keep your teeth (and the teeth of your children) healthy even while eating Halloween candy. At Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas, we want everyone to have a healthy smile, but we also don’t want you to miss out on all the fun during Halloween.

Do Not Eat It All Right Away. 

It is not uncommon for children to collect a bunch of candy during Halloween. Often, they accumulate enough to stockpile it for several months. However, they usually want to eat their candy right away. Even parents like to get in on some of this action, too, but it is crucial to promote moderation.

Too much of a good thing is always a bad thing. Like we said earlier, the more candy you eat, the more sugar you give the bacteria in your mouth, and the more acid they make. Eat candy in moderation. Don’t splurge on a bunch of pieces in one sitting.

Also, try to eat Halloween candy (and all sugary foods) with or right after meals. When you eat, your mouth increases saliva production. Saliva is responsible for washing away debris from your teeth, such as candy and sugar.

Don’t eat all of your Halloween candy right away. Save it as you continue into the holiday season.

Avoid Certain Candy. 

Did you know some candies are better for your teeth than others? When given the chance, choose the candy for yourself (and for your kids) carefully when trick-or-treating. Chocolate is arguably your safest bet. It is one of the softer candies, so it washes off of your teeth easier. Additionally, dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate.

Certain candies stick to and in between your teeth. When candy sticks to your teeth, it stays on longer, giving bacteria more time to feed on it, create acid, and wear on your enamel. Such candies include:

  • Gummies and chewy candy
  • Caramels
  • Hard candies
  • Lollipops
  • Sour candies
  • Super sweet candies
  • Popcorn balls (another popular holiday snack)

Additionally, sugar-free gum can help prevent tooth decay. When you chew gum, you produce more saliva, which flushes food particles off of your teeth.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth.

We all know that candy can present genuine problems for your teeth. Things become even more difficult during Halloween. After all, there is candy in excess virtually everywhere you go during this time of year. At this point, you should know that Halloween and your teeth do not necessarily go hand in hand. However, you should already be engaging in habits that protect your teeth and maintain their health. That’s right! Arguably the best way to protect your teeth this Halloween (and year-round) is by brushing and flossing!

You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Brushing your teeth removes any buildup on your teeth, preventing plaque from eating through your enamel. Flossing allows you to clean between your teeth. Halloween candy has a nasty way of getting stuck between your teeth, which is why flossing is so crucial.

Visit Your Dentist  

Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year. Everyone can enjoy it, from young children to grown adults. It’s a time for dressing up, having fun, and eating candy. Even though candy is harmful to your teeth, that does not mean you cannot enjoy it. Halloween and your teeth might not see eye to eye, but you can still enjoy some candy this time of year.

One of the best ways to keep your teeth clean year-round (especially after Halloween) is by visiting your dentist for a dental cleaning. They will make sure there is no leftover candy on your teeth to keep your smile looking good. Get ahead of the curve and schedule dental cleanings for the whole family before Halloween gets here. Give Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas a call today to schedule an appointment!